Million Dollar Ping Pong Table

If someone were to come into my office today and drop a million dollars on the table and said, “You have three minutes to decide what you will use this money for, go!” I would probably use it to buy a ridiculously expensive ping pong table, why?  Because we kind of need a new one.  Stupid right?
When it comes to money I like to think that I’m prudent in my decision making, but prudence involves wise choices, I’m just slow on deciding on what to spend where.
Yesterday, we were handed back our budgets for the year, and first thought was, “Why did they cut that?” but after thinking about it, the budget that I was given is more than fair.  But it did make me think, “Have I been budgeting wisely?”
Right now I don’t have any full time staff below me, I do have some stipend members, but no staff with salaries that depend on me, which relieves a lot of pressure.  So what do I spend my money on, what does any youth minister spend their money on, pizza and water balloons…just kidding (except about the pizza).  When it comes to balancing a ministry budget it’s important to:

  • Categorize Your Costs – What are the priorities in your budget and what is getting how much? For example, do you have a budget for your training and development?  By creating categories for your costs you’ll see where money is wasted and where it’s needed.
  • Schedule a Review – I’m bad at this but you need to sit down monthly, weekly, regularly to know how it’s all going.  You’ll find that you are overspending in one area while not touching an other.  Spend some time tracking your spending.
  • Create a Culture of Giving – I don’t know if this is a big deal in other ministries, but we use to give all of our small group leaders a stipend (we were small then), which created a culture where none of them wanted to spend their own money on the students.  We stopped doing that and now leaders are more encouraged to invest in the students with their own money.  To do this you need to lead by example, if you don’t do it, don’t expect others to.

Unfortunately, not all youth ministers are financially savvy; fortunately, we don’t have to be, we just have to have some prudence and patience.  So that when someone comes by with a million dollars we know what to spend it on…So what would you spend $1,000,000.00 on in your youth ministry?